I was reading a German magazine and I came across the verb "übertragen" in this context:

Alte Gewohnheiten werden deshalb besser nicht auf die neue Partnerschaft übertragen.

As far as I understand the sentence is saying something like (based partially on the meaning of some of the words and partially on the article's context): "Old habits will therefore be best left out of the new relationship."

However all the translations for übertragen don't fit my perceived meaning of the word. my dictionary tells me:

übertragen - to broadcast something or to translate something

So how would a definition like that fit in this sentence? or is my translation totally off? or are there more meanings for the word übertragen?

  • 3
    Your dictionary entry is correct but incomplete. 'to transfer' should definitely be added to the entry, and Barnie's answer is quite to the point. While this translation does not appear in the list of direct hits at www.leo.org, it appears quite often on the 'further hits' list which contains many examples for which 'to transfer' is a good translation.
    – Thomas
    Dec 26, 2011 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


über-tragen = lit. to carry from one point to another (i.e. transfer)

My translation:

"Old habits will therefore be best not transferred to the new relationship."


The literal (wörtlich) translation "carry over" would probably fit the English best here with an "it's" inserted to smooth it out:

"It's therefore better not to carry over old habits into the new partnership."

Note the emphasis on "deshalb besser" that you get from the German construct. Whatever was just talked about in the previous sentence (not given by the asker here) really proves the reason why old habits should be avoided.

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